On Wednesday, May 25, the AIDS Committee of Ottawa (ACO) will present Voices for Women’s Health. The forum will address the sexual health priorities and HIV prevention needs of women in Ottawa.
Suzy Yim is the coordinator of education and prevention at ACO.
“Our rationale for pushing for this was that we want to gain a better understanding on what some of the needs are, what some of the issues are for women around HIV/AIDS,” she says.
She adds that there are aspects of HIV/AIDS that are unique to every community.
“On a global level there is a lot of excitement around the concept of microbicides being the strategy for prevention,” she says. “It is also a woman’s issue because it provides more empowerment for women to take prevention issues into their own hands. It’s been brought up many times that sometimes safe sex is not a place where you can negotiate.”
The forum, which consists of 75 people in total, including service providers and community members, has been broken into two parts.
The first session will feature speakers discussing women’s issues and how they relate to HIV/AIDS. The afternoon will be spent gathering information from the participants regarding their thoughts and concerns.
“The hope and the goal is for information to travel in all directions. For people – service providers and community members – to get information from the speakers and during the group discussions …so that it can better inform our work,” says Yim.
That information will be compiled and distributed to the public at the end of summer.